Saturday, 20 December 2014

Daily Prompt: Final Trio - the trouble with books

For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.

Hobby Room

Down in the cellar there is a room with a bookcase. No, not just one bookcase, but a few bookcases. It is the overflow from the apartment, the books that are books with covers and paper and print, not the books that you upload onto an electronic apparatus.

We really wanted to keep the books in the apartment, but they actually began to reproduce, they took over. One morning I awoke to find the door of the bedroom open being pushed by three books that had wandered in from the living room bookshelf. 

“What are you doing here, you had a nice comfortable place on the third shelf on the right.”

“Forget it book reader, we have no room. The volume of “Cooking for 5 star cooks” expanded during the night. It decided we were too inferior to share the same shelf because we were just ordinary criminal stories. We are moving into the bedroom, so that you can read us before going to sleep.”

“Oh I see, perhaps I can shift the cooking book into the kitchen.”

“We told him to go to the kitchen, but he said it was a definite No. He was not going to hang around in those kitchen smells, the damp and the grease. He was meant for better things, being a 5 star cooking book and wanted the best place on the shelf. He pushed us off.”

“But I do not have room for you in the bedroom. I shifted the bookshelf into the hobby room in the cellar, so I will take you down there.”

I picked them up and carried them downstairs, which was not easy, they were struggling all the way. Eventually we reached our destination and I put them on the top shelf next to the German classics. An argument began at once.

“Hey reader, this is not our place. We are english books and really do not want to mix with the foreign stuff.”

“Are you talking to us. Zis is not ze vay to speak to we deutsche books. We are zu special to be put on the same shelf as ze english books” and the German books pushed the three english books out of the shelf where they fell on a glass vase on their way causing a crack on its side.

“Books can you behave, if you are German or english it makes no difference, the main point is that you are good reading material. Now you have cracked the vase we were given on our wedding day by great aunt Matilda.”

“If you are so proud of this vase, why is it in the cellar. We want to return to the upstairs room, or at least be given a more dignified place. Just a moment, I can see a space between the complete Sherlock Holmes works and the Harry Bosch books, that will do nicely.”

I didn’t realise books could be so fussy, but I did as they said and they seem to be settling down nicely, exchanging stories and situations. 

“Ok reader you can go, we are now happy.

So here is a song about books - I don’t plaster my blogs with You Tube favourite songs, because I do not push my favourites onto anyone, but I found this a suitable song if anyone wants to listen.

By the way, did you notice, the ping backs have disappeared again. Who cares? I am fed up with caring.

WordPress Daily Prompt: Final Trio - in a feline way

For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.


“Fluffy, what are you doing sitting on the piano?”

“I am waiting for Tabby, we are going to rehearse some Catmas carols.”

“Hello Mrs. Human”

“Hello Tabby, Fluffy was telling me you both will be singing Christmas carols at Catmas. Have you decided what song it will be.”

“What do you think Tabby. I was thinking about one those Christmas carols, like “Hark the Herald Cats are singing” or perhaps “We wish you a merry Catmas”

“I am not sure Fluffy, the humans don’t know the words, so they will not be able to join us.”

“Of course we know the words, felines, but just our own words.”

“Yes, but can you sing it meow? It is Catmas and we sing our songs in meow. I was practicing this morning, but you did not seem to recognise the melody.”

“Fluffy, you mean that noise I heard when I was sleeping that woke me up. That was not singing, that was more a cry of despair, wanting to wake me to keep you company.”

“I was practicing Mrs, Human. You have to have a loud clear meow to ensure that people will listen. I even cracked a cup with my refined high tones. Listen ……….”

“No, Fluffy, please not, a glass just cracked in the kitchen. Your high cees are a little too high for human ears.”

“But Mrs. Human, Fluffy and I were thinking we could go singing for the other cats. We could carry an empty box between us to collect the tins of tuna fish.”

“To collect what????”

“Mrs. Human if humans go singing Christmas carols, they are giving money, or something Chrismassy. We felines cannot use money, but a tin of tuna is just as good.”

“That is not the idea of Christmas or Catmas. You sing for the delight of other people and not for profit”

“We are felines, and the word “delight” does not exist in meow. We take what we can get. 

“I give up. What are you going to sing?”

“We decided on something a little modern, it is No. 1 on the meow hit parade. Listen”

"That doesn't sound very much like Christmas."

"But it is Catmas, so Happy Catmas Mrs. Human."

Friday, 19 December 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Getting Seasonal

The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?

Christmas tree

The more I think, write and talk about Christmas, I have the feeling I have somehow changed into a modern day Scrooge. If Charles Dickens knew me, he would re-write his story but this time with a female Scrooge. I am not a Christmas hater but times have changed and today it is not just a source of mirth and enjoyment, but a commercial success.

The shelves in the shops are full of Christmas objects, mainly in plastic. I believe in the day of the real Scrooge you had a tree decorated with a few apples and some home made wooden ornaments. Today you can choose from so many colours and patterns that it resembles more a state of the art than something with meaning. I read in the local newspaper that the shops are having problems selling their Christmas Trees. The trees that were chopped down in their forests to display in a special container in the living room are no longer wanted. They sit outside the supermarket looking for a home, but find none. Today you buy imitation, perhaps plastic or some new form, as long as they do not shed their needles and you can put them away for next year. They might cost more, even a different colour,  but they are worth it. When you have one, you have it forever, just a dust over when it arrives regularly in December from the attic. Somewhere a business man is rubbing his hands with glee making a profit on each tree that is sold. 

I do not care, I do not really need a tree, but pro forma we have one. It sits on a cupboard in the corner, has no room to place gifts beneath the branches because it is too small. Where do I put the presents. I do not put the presents because I do not need this annual presenting things just for the sake of it. We stopped the present buying last year. Why run around in circles in the Christmas stress with other shoppers when you know what you want, so just buy it online or in a shop when it suits you. We share the stress and buy it ourself. Of course, when I was younger things were different. There were children and they had their wish lists prepared and there was a certain magic in fulfilling their wishes. I was a child and looked forward to the annual ceremony of giving.

Already at the end of October the shops begin filling their shelves with Christmas chocolate, christmas decorations, christmas card selections. I received my first Christmas card at the beginning of December, sent early from England to avoid the Christmas rush. I discovered with horror last week that there were only two weeks to Christmas, so I joined the Christmas stress club and bought my cards. I bought two packets, each containing five cards each  with the same designs (they are cheaper in groups). Swiss cards are not so flashy as the English cards. They never have a rhyme, just a few words saying “Happy Christmas” in German. The cards were bought and I pushed myself into writing a few words, the same words every year and they were ready to go. They have to go to far away places, a different country, stamps have to be organised. Our village closed its one and only post office for economical reasons. Mr. Swiss went to the nearest town and bought the stamps. One week before Christmas my cards were on their way, but I very much doubt if they will arrive in time. i know some people that actually count how many cards they receive and check if everyone sent them one that should have sent them. I just do what is expected. Oh how I hate this Chrismas business, and it has become a business. 

Of course I will be cooking the meals, special food for a special occasion. This does not bother me so much. I fought the battle of Christmas food shopping this morning and killed half the food I need. Everything is closed during the Christmas holidays so it has to be planned and bought now. Thank goodness our supermarket is open on Sunday this week, so I will then conquer the remainder. I wonder if the shop assistants enjoy working on Sunday, probably they do as they will be earning more than usual as compensation - I hope.

The TV is full of Christmas programmes, people dressed in Santa Claus outfits and some people even like to dress their pets in red fur trimmed coats with a nice Santa Claus hat to go with me. My felines hissed and said “don’t you dare”, so I did not dare. They have their catmas with an extra portion of tuna fish, but they do not appreciate the candles and other decorations. 

I am now looking forward to a successful stressless Christmas. I do not need this, I prefer my days to be filled with normal boring events. I like to read my books, see what is happening on the computer and go to shops that are not bursting at the seams with Christmas shoppers in bad moods trying to complete their lists of things that they have to buy to keep everyone happy and in the mood.

I am in the mood, of course I am. What did Scrooge say “Bah Humbug” but after the visit of the 3 Christmas ghosts of past, present and future, he changed his mind. Just a minute, there is a knock at the door and I hear the rattling of chains, who cares, it is my 68th Christmas and I have survived it up to now. It is probably the three ghosts to see if there is any Christmas spirit left in the bottle.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

An Old Photo from the Swiss Family Angloswiss

Fritz, Rudolf, Hans, Oscar Gerber 1

One of the Gerber dynasty published a book about our family Gerber, tracing their developments throughout the ages. The family originates in the  Emmental area of Switzerland and can be traced back to the 16th century, They were farmers, were butchers and involved in cheese production.  The photo shows my husband’s grandfather on the left together with his three brothers.  

This photo interested me as it shows the direct family of Mr. Swiss and was  taken on 1st August 1914, the evening before the soldiers were sent to protect the Swiss borders in world war I.

WordPress Daily Prompt: In due Time

What’s your next, most pressing deadline? Are you excited, stressed, or ambivalent about it? What’s the first thing you’d like to do once you’re done with it?

Building Site Berufschulhaus Vorstadt Solothurn

I suppose the guys working on this building site will have a deadline to complete whatever is being built, but it seems there is no-one around. They were probably taking their z’vieri (the four) which is Swiss German for an afternoon break. they are building a new school for the youngsters that are learning a trade. The old school was demolished a couple of months ago and shifted somewhere else until this one is completed. Yes, the youngsters have to meet their deadlines to complete the training for their various professions.

What is with the golden oldies, people like me that no longer work. Huh! Of course I work. This morning I cleaned the kitchen and the shower. Generally I clean the kitchen in the morning and the shower after my golden oldie sleep, but today I decided to take a risk and do it all in the morning. Mr. Swiss visited his drum room in town for a practice and I was left to my own devices. Out of boredom I decided to do it all in the morning and it worked. I even had time for a fifteen minute relaxation in a horizontal position on the bed after the work was done. That is organisation, but not a deadline.

Deadlines are something for the work force, those that have to do something and in time. I worked thirty years in export, delivering stuff all over the world, writing the export papers and organising the shipments, whether by post, rail, sea or air. I got used to it and although deadlines were 95% of the work, I took things one at a time. I never lost any sleep over it, but then I was not in charge of the department. I was just part of the working force. Was I glad to be rid of it - oh yes, I do not miss the rush and the telephone calls from customers under pressure from their bosses or companies where the machines would be on down time because something did not arrive. I remained cool, and just muttered a few profanities about the customers in silence to compensate for the stress.

One day it was all over, work was finished, you were thrown on the heap of the happy senior citizen grounds and now I could do what I wanted to. This condition has formed my life for the past six years and I am not unhappy. Deadlines are something for the newspapers, for the journalists, for the boss on the building site, and for the customers and manufacturers and that’s life.

My next deadline would be lunch for the family on Saturday. Son No. 2 and girlfriend will not be here at Christmas so we are having a pre christmas meal this week-end, but it is not a deadline, it is a family gathering, no stress. 

Christmas has become a deadline for the general public over the years. In the days of my great grandparents it seemed to be a day of getting married. When I look at all the marriage certificates in my family ancestry, they all married on 25th December. This was probably because it was one of the few days during the year that they all had a holiday. 

Times change and today Christmas is one of the main deadlines during the year for many. It is a deadline for business to get the orders out, to finalise the financial side of things and even the Christmas dinner in the office has become a deadline, squeezing it in somewhere between the general Christmas customs. Presents have to be bought, packed and organised - all in the name of Christmas and deadline stress. Food is arranged, but not just food. The biggest and best turkey, the best piece of beef filet and all the trimmings: order the meat a week in advance to ensure that you have it in time. Do not forget the drinks, yes, we must all drink at Christmas and invite the family. Eventually you sit beneath the Christmas tree with a well cooked meal and distribute the gifts afterwards. There are some that might even fall asleep beneath the tree after the meal, being exhausted from the preparations, mainly the females that cooked it all. 

With age you begin to wonder if this is really necessary. Was it the real meaning of Christmas to go on a spending spree and logistic organisation of the presents, meal and festivities. I am an atheist so I watch on, but participate. Who am I to say I do not do it because I do not believe. Others believe and it is tradition and it is not my aim to disappoint. Perhaps I am cynical, but the Christmas deadline is really not necessary. Great grandparents Jason and  Emily married on Christmas day because they were working all year. Ok, in the following January their first son was born, the first of many (16 in all approximately), but they had to wait until Christmas because all the other days were deadlined with work on the fields (Jason was a farm labourer).

Those with deadlines at the end of the year, take it easy, one day you will no longer have them. Those that are already in the golden oldie group of “no-more-deadlines”, enjoy it a long as you can. I am enjoying it. Oh, I forgot, of course I have a deadline daily, the prompt.

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Grinder

Grinding on Berufsschulhaus building site

Is he planning to break into a Swiss bank, grinding his way through the thick walls? He is disguised so that on-one will recognise him. I noticed the thick clouds of dust rising and I decided to take the photo of all photos. He had a knife. He was prepared, anything could happen. This is evidence. There was a sudden pause in the work. The grinding operation was stopped and silence reigned. 

“Hey Walter, is this enough?”

“Not yet, needs a few centimetres more. But time for a cigarette break Hans and a nice cup of coffee.”

“I’m with you Walter” and Hans the grinder,  arose and joined his fellow workers for a break on the building site.

He lit a cigarette and coughed a few times.

“Sounds like a bad cough you have there Hans.”

“No, not so bad, must have swallowed a few mouthfuls of dust despite the mask. Will be glad when this is done and done with Walter.”

“Yes, I can believe it. Two weeks break for the Christmas holidays and then you can start on flattening the floor.”

Hans coughed some more, said a few profanities and continued grinding, still muttering under his breath.